Abraham Ozler review: The makers don’t dumb it down for the audience; they hope that the audience is smart enough to stay abreast with the developments
Abraham Ozler story: ACP Abraham Ozler, who is coping with depression following a personal tragedy three years ago, is assigned to a murder case – which involves the victim being surgically and fatally wounded. The modus operandi is followed in two more murders, forcing Ozler and his team to be on high alert to avoid a fourth. As he pieces together the clues, more suspects emerge, prompting Ozler to question his own conclusions and the puzzling agenda of those behind the crimes.
Abraham Ozler review: It’s easy for the audience to attach similar expectations to filmmakers, especially those who pull off compelling thrillers. Director Jeethu Joseph has been hounded with that since Drishyam, and now Midhun Manuel Thomas, whose previous directorial Anjaam Pathiraa was celebrated, had to keep clarifying that this latest movie Abraham Ozler is not similar to his last film at all. In some sense, Midhun was right. The Jayaram-starrer is a proper medical thriller – in the sense that the plot deals with an investigation of a series of murders that are ‘surgically’ carried out and hospitals being the settings.
However, that’s not to say that the film has no elements related to Anjaam Pathiraa; like the Kunchacko Boban-starrer, which was also an investigative thriller, Abraham Ozler, written by Dr Randheer Krishnan, has a complex plot, a series of red herrings and a gritty setting of hospitals – adding to the nightmarish scenario.
That said, what makes Abraham Ozler different is that rather than travelling with its protagonist and despite giving him a harrowing past, it doesn’t quite explore that side of him. Instead, it plunges straight into the investigation of a series of murders, with each one throwing up a new clue for the titular character to chase. In fact, the first half is paced well, but there’s hardly any emotional connection to the cops who are doing the chasing which, if the viewer does get lost in the information, makes it hard to keep track.
Abraham Ozler is one of those movies that doesn’t dumb it down for the audience, in fact, the makers hope that the audience is smart enough to stay abreast with the developments. How the scenes – the present and the flashback – in the hospitals are staged along with the explanations from the various doctors, add a layer of authenticity to the medical thriller.
Midhun and Dr Randheer make up for this in the second half by having an emotional plot as the flashback, which interestingly captivates the audience more than the investigation elements or a not-so-hidden cameo appearance by Mammootty that precedes it. These sequences, featuring a bunch of relative newcomers and Anaswara Rajan, are the high points in a film that stars Mammootty and Jayaram. These scenes, though predictable, elevate the movie and get the audience interested in the outcome.
Abraham Ozler marks Midhun’s third thriller on the trot, after Garudan and Pheonix, even though he hadn’t helmed the former two. In Pheonix too, he had used the flashback trope to brilliant effect and though Abraham Ozler’s might not leave the audience with the similar effect, considering that it’s a medical thriller and unveils the reason for the killings – it’s a compelling explanation.
The film also has a great scene with veterans Mammootty and Jagadeesh. But the letdown is how Jayaram’s character is written. His insomnia and depression are forgotten as the plot progresses, and Ozler has nothing to do apart from follow the clues. His character doesn’t quite make the same impact as some of the other lead characters in memorable investigative thrillers. The conclusion of Abraham Ozler does hint at a sequel, and if the plan was to save his character for the next instalment, Midhun will have to build him up again.
Abraham Ozler verdict: Midhun Manuel Thomas’ medical thriller benefits greatly from the flashback sequences, rather than its superstar cameo. However, to get there, the viewer will have to endure a packed first half that might be too cerebral for some.